Do you often find yourself wondering how in Jeebus’s name Congress can reform Wall Street when the two share a bed? If that question keeps you up at night, then you might have mixed feelings about this nightmare of a column in today’s Baltimore Sun:
When it comes to overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program at the Office of Financial Stability within the U.S. Treasury, dissent and diversity seem less important than elitism to this president. It’s an attitude that allows him to overlook failure.
According to resumes obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, nine of the 13 officers at the highest pay grade at OFS attended Ivy League schools, four at Harvard graduate schools. All but two of the top group are lawyers or MBAs. All the major investment banks are well represented by current OFS employees, with Goldman Sachs — recipient of $10 billion in TARP funds — having 12 out of about 200, more than double the number from other investment banks.
Among Goldman alumni is David Miller, OFS director of investments. He also happens to be a Harvard Business School alumnus. Maybe his undergraduate minor in film studies at Dartmouth College lends an artistic perspective to high-level discussions about which banks are worthy of billions in taxpayer financing.
And then there are about 20 employees in OFS who worked for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the huge government-sponsored enterprises responsible for accelerating if not creating the housing meltdown by backing low-quality loans from people who could never pay them back.
Some employees were technicians who held no responsibility for the debacle created by their organization. But others were key evangelists for disastrous policies. One high-level communications employee at OFS was a senior marketing communications manager at Freddie Mac starting in 2004. She boasts that she “developed, produced and promoted education and outreach initiatives [in English, Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese] which were used in major campaign to increase mortgage purchases. Overall purchases increased 68 percent, while purchases of target product increased 429 percent over previous year.”
A great (if depressing) reminder that the list of finance sector alumni working in Washington isn’t negligible. Thanks to Marta Mossburg for sending her piece along.